OAKLAND, Calif. — James Shields pitched quite a gem for the Royals. It certainly helped that the Athletics abandoned their usual patient approach at the plate.
Shields pitched eight sharp innings for his first win in nearly a month, and Kansas City beat Oakland 4-2 on Sunday.
"This team was a free-hacking team (Sunday), which is not really their game," the former Ray said. "They have a bunch of hitters over there that were being aggressive, and I was able to execute my pitches early in the count."
Shields retired his first 15 batters before Josh Reddick hit a leadoff homer in the sixth. Alberto Callaspo then had a one-out single before former Ray Sam Fuld lined into a double play.
Shields walked none for the fifth time this season.
"You watch the way that he's pitching, it's like, 'Okay boys, let's just give him a couple runs and he'll take it from there,' " Royals manager Ned Yost said. "A good indicator for him was he was managing his pitch count."
Shields threw 102 pitches while outdueling another ex-Ray, Scott Kazmir, and helping the Royals to their ninth win in 12 games.
"As far as I'm concerned we can match up with anyone, any team, any starting rotation," Shields said. "As long as we go toe to toe with those guys we're going to be in every game."
The A's have sputtered offensively since trading cleanup hitter Yoenis Cespedes to Boston on Thursday. They lead the stacked AL West by one game over the Angels.